This news will reverberate in the hearts of anyone who watched the Chargers play in the 1970s and 1980s: Former head coach Don Coryell, who’d been gravely ill, died at the age of 85.

The man behind “Air Coryell” and one of the most influential and respected sports figures in San Diego’s history, he leaves a legacy of exciting and heart-pounding football. The U-T, LAT and AP are remembering Coryell in obituaries, and an ESPN writer is already calling on the Pro Football Hall of Fame to finally (and belatedly) recognize him.

In other news:

• At the San Diego school district, goodbye doesn’t mean forever. In fact, it’s often just another way to say, “Leave your coffee cup in the break room. We’ll be seeing you soon.”

The district had has a habit of paying expensive and experienced employees to give up their jobs and then paying them to come back and work on a temporary basis. As we report, they’re doing it again.

The platinum-coated goodbyes are supposed to save the district money. But it can be harder to do that when the same employees are rehired. Our story looks at how much this system costs and why critics think it’s bad for newer and less experienced employees.

• The bizarre saga of Councilman Carl DeMaio’s ballot initiative appears to have come to an end after a head-scratching and brain-taxing couple of days.

To recap: DeMaio & Co. spent a bundle to support an initiative to overhaul how the city deals with outside companies. The measure would give a big boost to outsourcing, outlaw labor pacts and potentially eliminate the city’s living wage ordinance.

Supporters submitted about 134,000 petition signatures and needed around 96,000 to be valid.

The registrar of voters verified about 80 percent of a sample of 4,033 signatures, did some fancy math and declared the initiative to be invalid because it didn’t have enough support.

The number-crunching confused lots of people, and DeMaio demanded a full count at a cost of $151,000, even though the registrar said time had run out. But he withdrew the request yesterday because a full count apparently isn’t possible under the law.

Let’s go back to those numbers (briefly, I swear!). People were taken aback because the registrar only found 30 duplicate signatures amid 4,033. But those were all duplicates of other signatures in that batch of 4,033 only.

By the odds, the registrar would have found hundreds of other duplicate signatures in that batch once they cross-checked them with the remaining 130,000-ish signatures.

In the People’s Post, contributor Vlad Kogan, a numbers whiz, explains this and the math brilliantly. Kogan is cordially invited to help me with my taxes.

• There’s talk at City Hall of placing a half-cent sales tax increase on the November ballot as part of a package of reforms, including privatization of the Miramar Landfill operations. (How much would that tax increase be? Well, if you spend $10,000 on taxable goods and services in the city each year, that will amount to an extra $50 out of your pocket.)

The mayor is supposedly considering a vote on the tax, although neither he nor his spokesman are saying so at the moment. Scott Lewis wonders if this represents “a grand plan or a meek trial balloon.” (Beware of meek trial balloons! They pop with a whimper.)

“This is the mayor’s moment,” Lewis writes. But even at his most convincing-est, can the mayor (or anyone else) persuade the disgruntled residents of a troubled city to open their wallets?


• Major news in the U-T: “The Coast Guard has filed charges against four of its enlisted boat operators in San Diego for their role in the December collision of a patrol boat and a civilian craft that killed an 8-year-old boy in San Diego Bay.”

The operators face different charges, including involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault and dereliction of duty.

• The parents of murdered teen Amber Dubois have filed damage claims against the state. (AP)

• The National Park Service is warning Californians about great white sharks off the coast (NBC 7/39)

• The Carlsbad school board might pay for testing at an elementary school that some suspect is the center of a cancer cluster. A state study didn’t find one. (KPBS)

• Should voters get to decide whether San Diego builds a new City Hall for almost $300 million? A real-estate developer is wondering if the answer could be “no,” CityBeat reports.

CityBeat also checks into a website owned by Hale Media, which it connected to Councilman DeMaio’s initiative campaign. (The Hale in question is DeMaio’s boyfriend.)

The website, with a dirty word in its name (unless it’s supposed to be about poultry), now redirects visitors to an anti-union site.

• Just when you thought Hillcrest couldn’t possibly be any more festive, here come new street median lights. (U-T)

• Finally, the chief executive whose last name adorns downtown’s most storied hotel has stopped making his way up the lists of the best presidents.

Ten years ago, a C-SPAN survey of historians named Ulysses S. Grant — whose son founded the U.S. Grant Hotel — as the 33rd best president. As historians reconsidered his record and gave him more of a break over corruption in his administration, his ranking went up several notches in a 2009 survey to 23rd.

So much for his upward trajectory. Now a new historian survey by Siena College only puts him in 26th place. (Barack Obama is at 15th. Never mind where George W. Bush is.)

As we told you a few months ago, several of President Grant’s great-great grandchildren live in the San Diego area, including one who recently auctioned off some of his belongings.

Shh! I won’t tell them about Grant’s new ranking if you won’t. And don’t even get them started about who’s buried in their great-great grandpa’s tomb.

Correction: This post has been updated to correct two errors. An extra sales tax of half of one percent on $10,000 would be $50, not $500. And the parents of Amber Dubois, not Chelsea King, have filed a claim with the state. We regret the errors.


Dagny Salas

Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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